Cubeo Hehénewa Religious Thought

Cubeo Hehénewa Religious Thought

IRVING GOLDMAN
Edited by Peter J. Wilson
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 488
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7312/gold13020
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  • Book Info
    Cubeo Hehénewa Religious Thought
    Book Description:

    The societies of the Vaupés region are now among the most documented indigenous cultures of the New World, in part because they are thought to resemble earlier civilizations lost during initial colonial conflict. Here at last is the eagerly awaited publication of a posthumous work by the man widely regarded as the preeminent authority on Vaupés Amazonian societies. Cubeo Hehénewa Religious Thought will be the definitive account of the religious worldview of a significant Amazonian culture. Cubeo religious thought incorporates ideas about the nature of the cosmos, society, and human life; the individual's orientation to the world; the use of hallucinogenic substances; and a New World metaphysics. This volume was substantially completed before Irving Goldman's death, but Peter Wilson has edited it for publication, providing a thorough introduction to Goldman's work. Stephen Hugh-Jones has contributed an afterword, setting the work in the context of contemporary Vaupés ethnography.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-50361-7
    Subjects: Anthropology, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-xii)
  3. EDITOR’S ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  4. EDITOR’S PREFACE
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  5. EDITOR’S INTRODUCTION IRVING GOLDMAN AND THE SPIRIT OF FRANZ BOAS
    (pp. xix-xlviii)
    Peter J. Wilson
  6. 1. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-16)

    To deal first with the identities in the book title: The Cuduiarí is a tributary of the river Vaupés, which in turn is a tributary of the river Negro. The Vaupés runs northwesterly between 1° N. and 2° N., crossing the boundary between Brazil and Colombia. The river Cuduiarí is in Colombia. The term “Cubeo” or “kubéwa” is not a self-designation by the members of the tribe in question, but a rather accidental naming of the sort that happens to native peoples who often persist as creations of their discoverers, interpreters, and, in other respects, masters. The name “Cubeo” appears...

  7. 2. CREATION AND EMERGENCE
    (pp. 17-47)

    Cubeo tradition says that their ancestral human beings emerged from a formless mass that lay embedded in the rock. Kúwai began the creation while seated on a ceremonial stool (nyanká) over the hole that led from the center of the earth. Concentrating his thought, he conceived of people in his mind and then gave them shape and life by laying alongside each partially formed human being a musical instrument—a trumpet or a flute—that had been made by his younger brother, Aínyehinkü, the Master of Food and Nourishment. Kúwai first brought the instruments to life by inserting a life-soul...

  8. 3. THE SOCIAL ORDER
    (pp. 48-120)

    In the previous chapter I gave a general scheme of the idea of creation, in which human beings were submerged. It is now time for them to be described as having emerged and come in at a more specific level of Cubeo thought. Another way of making this clear is that in what follows, the Cubeo are emphasizing their differences from other species and from other groups. The human era begins with the emergence into this world of the ancestors of the phratries and of their dependent lineages and sibs. Their emergence, which Cubeo also speak of as a “birth,”...

  9. 4. DAILY LIFE AT GROUND LEVEL
    (pp. 121-150)

    Because it is the focus of ordinary and intimate domestic affairs, the connubial household softens and, in important respects, overcomes the inherent distinctions and structural polarities that are represented by husband and wife. Over time, man and wife grow closer to become a defined and separate entity that progressively sets itself apart from its collective setting. The man has detached himself somewhat from his patrilinear kin and the woman from her female intimates. The net result of all marriages is the further differentiation of the sib collectivity into semiautonomous households or hearth groups, a mode of differentiation that reproduces through...

  10. 5. THE COSMIC ORDER
    (pp. 151-184)

    A chapter on cosmic order at this point in a work on religion calls for an explanation in the light of the Tukanoan reasoning that the narratives of creation and emergence are themselves involved in the events they describe. In their normal ritual setting, the narratives contribute to the general atmosphere of illusion and enhanced awareness within which original creations are brought to life again and are in that sense recreated. The order of narrative and the order of creation and the appearance of a social order are interlocked. If the order is broken, the narrative is still significant, but...

  11. 6 THE RITUAL ORDER
    (pp. 185-231)

    Through ritual, which is a manner of symbolic transformation, a community of celebrants re-creates itself so as to conform to what it understands to be the rules of order that govern relations between themselves and the members of other and nonhuman spheres. In re-creating itself, the community establishes another order of existence—a ritual order. Simply as a concept of organization, a ritual order is like a social order, a structure of patterned and stable relations that, taken as a whole, sustains the community as an ethnic entity or, in biological terms, as an integral species among all others. A...

  12. 7. DEATH AND MOURNING
    (pp. 232-299)

    Mourning rites that contain dancers wearing body masks of bark cloth are historically part of a shared Arawakan-Tukanoan ceremonial complex that was widespread in the Vaupés until the early decades of this century. Similar ceremonies also took place on the Cuduiarí and upper Vaupés, to my own knowledge, until the late 1940s. Koch-Grünberg, from his travels among the tribes and local communities of the Vaupés, Rio Negro, and Orinoco drainages, believed that the rites were originally Arawakan and were adopted from them by Tukanoans, in the course of intermarriages and other cultural interchanges (1909–1910). There is corroborative support for...

  13. 8. SHAMANS, JAGUARS, AND THUNDERERS
    (pp. 300-344)

    The shaman of the Vaupés is not of the psychic disposition of other types of mystics, such as those who come to the brink of death and recover to become masters of healing and authorities on death and related matters. Neither is he temperamentally a “marginal” or “alienated” being or an “outsider.” As the organization of phratries reminds us, he is one of the men at the center and at the heart of the community, a location that confers ritual leadership and the charisma of authority. There is a category of Cubeo shamans who are second rate. It is they...

  14. 9. CONCEPTS OF POWER
    (pp. 345-383)

    Two closely related interests command the Cubean mind. Foremost, perhaps, is the ethnic, really the sentiment of self love or, as I had written in my field notes, “adoration of Cubeoness.” It is a deeply felt concern that this gathering of families have a special place among the tribes of the Vaupés. They are to be cherished not just for the well-being of their souls, but for the value of their collective treasures, their own store of privileged knowledge. The sum of that knowledge is what empowers their historical continuity and secures for them their distinctive place in the small...

  15. 10. GENDER
    (pp. 384-404)

    With gender, we continue the discussion of concepts of power. The subject merits its own chapter because it introduces us to the Cubean modern age and a realm of new powers. In the preceding chapter, the concern was with ritualized and desocialized powers. Here it is to be on powers associated with social life. Gender is a field of special powers, mainly of generative forces that propel and regulate sexual reproduction. In Cubean cosmogonic theory, as we have repeatedly observed, the appearance of sexual reproduction marked the momentous transition from the era of the Kúwaiwa to that of the human...

  16. AFTERWORD
    (pp. 405-412)
    Stephen Hugh-Jones

    When the second edition of The Cubeo was published in 1979, Goldman added an afterword “to bring the reader up to date on the current status of anthropological investigations in the region” (1979: 299). Given how much time has passed between manuscript and final publication, my aim here is again to bring the reader up to date and to situate this second Cubeo book in the wider context of Tukanoan research.¹

    In The Cubeo, based on his Bahúkiwa fieldwork in 1939 and 1940, Goldman wrote that “one of the astonishing and saddening oversights of twentieth century anthropological research has been...

  17. GLOSSARY
    (pp. 413-422)
  18. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 423-426)
  19. INDEX
    (pp. 427-438)